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I need a Lab. Where do I start?


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I really need to get a dog as a shooting companion. It will be used mostly for decoying, some roost shooting and an occasional bit of walked up game shooting.

I think it really needs to be a puppy and preferably a small fox red or black bitch. It will probably be a house dog rather than kennelled.

I'm more interested in it being a useable healthy dog rather than an overbred field trial champion. I'm not really sure how hip scores etc work or how many working years I can expect to get out of a Lab.

Having had lurchers most of my adult life I don't really want to end up with a fat barrel for a dog either.

I realise it's going to cost me a few bob but I don't want to pay silly money either.

I was interested in a Cocker and like how small they are and what they can do but they seem too manic to be sitting around waiting for pigeons.

 

So where do I start and what do I look for?

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I really need to get a dog as a shooting companion. It will be used mostly for decoying, some roost shooting and an occasional bit of walked up game shooting.

I think it really needs to be a puppy and preferably a small fox red or black bitch. It will probably be a house dog rather than kennelled.

I'm more interested in it being a useable healthy dog rather than an overbred field trial champion. I'm not really sure how hip scores etc work or how many working years I can expect to get out of a Lab.

Having had lurchers most of my adult life I don't really want to end up with a fat barrel for a dog either.

I realise it's going to cost me a few bob but I don't want to pay silly money either.

I was interested in a Cocker and like how small they are and what they can do but they seem too manic to be sitting around waiting for pigeons.

 

So where do I start and what do I look for?

Firstly if you would really like a cocker then go for a cocker , they can be what you train them to be , I had one for a hide dog for 10 years and he was very good .

Lab wise personally a decent black one will be easier to find at a reasonable price , seems everyone who owns a fox red litter puts another £200 on top of what they are worth .

 

Hip score wise basically the lower the number the better add the two numbers together and I would be looking for pup from parents of 10 or less .

 

Elbows are scored 0-3 again the lower the number better , I would also be looking at pup from dogs that are hereditary clear of PRA and CNM.

Buying from a breeder who has both parents is a good idea .

 

You should be able to pick a black bitch up with all of the above for around £500

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Well done for choosing the perfect dog for your needs, a Labrador will serve you well. Only a idiot would pay more for a certain colour pup and only a complete w****r would charge more for a certain colour. The more tests the parents have had the better. Good luck with choosing a pup and do not, under any circumstances, pay more for a colour.

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As fenboy says look for even hip score in parents totaling less than 10. 4/3=7 1/6=7 look for balanceed like the first,

eye certificates of both patents.

 

Several people pack up and retire at the end of every season due to thier age/commitments etc some very good dogs to be picked up in feruary /march

 

ATB in your search.

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Well done for choosing the perfect dog for your needs, a Labrador will serve you well. Only a idiot would pay more for a certain colour pup and only a complete w****r would charge more for a certain colour. The more tests the parents have had the better. Good luck with choosing a pup and do not, under any circumstances, pay more for a colour.

+1 and don't be tempted by anyone telling you a spaniel will do it all. I have springers and labs and would only consider a lab for your needs.

 

Don't get hung up on FTCH being, as you put it, overbred either. They're not, they are simply very well trained dogs and trialling blood in a pedigree serves to confirm you are likely to have a dog with the nose and athletic ability it needs to do its job.

 

Health tests, well there are others more up on lab tests than me to comment but hips and eyes would be a minimum.

 

As far as finding a pup is concerned, if you are on FB there are a couple of good groups where litters are advertised for sale. Best to buy from someone you have confidence in and who has a bit of a track record. PM me if you want more info on the FB groups.

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Don't get hung up on FTCH being, as you put it, overbred either. They're not, they are simply very well trained dogs and trialling blood in a pedigree serves to confirm you are likely to have a dog with the nose and athletic ability it needs to do its job.

 

Health tests, well there are others more up on lab tests than me to comment but hips and eyes would be a minimum.

 

 

 

These two things are tied together. To get a dog with good health testing provenance it almost certainly will be from trial lines. A lot of the fashionable so called red breeding that's about has little or no health testing in the lines.

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I'm the oppisate of perce i wouldn't have a heavily bred FT dog, or atleast not from modern lines.(skinny with no double coat) althou some FT boys are trying to bred a more traditional lab again.

I also would not touch a fox red 1 with a barge pole, lot of very poor dogs being bred from for £££. Still some good ones about but u have to know them

 

For wot u want a decent workig strain will be fine, rather than FB etc i'd ask in gunshops, local shoots or wildfowling clubs so the dog is genuine working stock and not a pet that once chased a pheasan oncet.

A lot of the best working dgs will be bred on beating lines/wildfowling clubs, proper old fashioned stocky labs that will enter cover and not need a coat to walk in the rain (like a lot of the labs at the IGL last week)

 

I'm probably in the minority of 1 here. But If i knew the breeder and knew the line of dogs i wouldn't bother about hip scores, but would insist on them from a stranger. If a dog has been working for years and its realations and parents grandpparents have with no hip problems that would do for me, some of the local boys i know have had the same line for 30+ odd years and most of the offspring are on neighbouring shoots any problems and u soon here about them

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I'm the oppisate of perce i wouldn't have a heavily bred FT dog, or atleast not from modern lines.(skinny with no double coat) althou some FT boys are trying to bred a more traditional lab again.

I also would not touch a fox red 1 with a barge pole, lot of very poor dogs being bred from for £££. Still some good ones about but u have to know them

 

 

 

That's not what I posted / meant. To get a dog with a good health test history it will have strong trial blood in it, very few people other than the trial fraternity have tested their dogs regularly. Most pups advertised will have one or two generations of testing if you're lucky.

It's a bit odd but the spaniel testing is the other way round with very few of the trial dogs being tested, everyone seems frightened of the skeletons in the closet, which are almost certainly there.

i think a dogs coat is more environment than breeding, if a dog truly lives outside it'll be considerably rougher coated than if it lives in a modern kennel block or in the house. Mine all live in doors & they don't seem to be fazed by a days picking up in the cold & rain.

The dog jackets, choke chains & training vests, it's all a bit of monkey see, monkey do.

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Sorry perce, know wot ur meaning thou.

 

Thats why i prefer to only buy of people/lines i know well as many know their own lines back 5+ gens and know exactly wot health problems there are.

 

I do agree that coat type can be influenced by indoors/outdoors but some of the labs u see nowadays are bred without the coat, i would imagine most of the dogs competeing at IGL would be kennelled dogs. Far too much emphisis put on speed and atheletic ability and too little on coat type,look and nose.

U just want a bit of everything, but trialling is almost too specialised now to be much good for an average shooting man

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Just another point to add to the already good advice. I would much prefer to have pick of the litter from a bitch that is a good worker than get the last pup from a litter of the best bred field trial winners.

 

I am speaking from experience of both buying dogs as well as breeding myself and the pick of the litter is worth its weight in gold. Yes you may get lucky with the last pup from the litter but given the chance I would much rather have the choice.

 

If you are buying from a TOP breeder most of the litter will be accounted for before they are born. Most going to other breeders or their trialing friends. What you will often be offered is the pup nobody else wanted and that is usually for a reason.

 

The points others make about the coat is very valid. A double coat can make a big difference if you plan on using the dog for any kind of water work. I have various labs with both types of coat and I can pick up after a duck flight, with the dogs in and out of the water for up to an hour and the double coat dogs are still dry underneath.

 

As for health tests it's a double edge sword. I currently have one of the best bitches I have ever had my hands on. Great hips, 0/0 elbows, CNM clear but she is a PRA carrier. If I use a clear dog 50% of the litter will be clear and 50% carriers. Non will be effected but I won't breed from her because I don't think it's right. Do I sometimes regret having the test, you bet I do.

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As for health tests it's a double edge sword. I currently have one of the best bitches I have ever had my hands on. Great hips, 0/0 elbows, CNM clear but she is a PRA carrier. If I use a clear dog 50% of the litter will be clear and 50% carriers. Non will be effected but I won't breed from her because I don't think it's right. Do I sometimes regret having the test, you bet I do.

 

I've just taken a litter from a PRA carrier bitch that's my best worker, I actually tested her after she whelped as I felt it dishonest to sell pups & then test the ones I'd kept. I've kept 3 pups back & I'll test them if I breed from them. I had little difficulty in selling the remaining pups as I sold them at what was a sensible price. It would seem that trialers will put pedigree before health tests as 3 of the pups I sold went to competitive homes.

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I must admit I seriously considered breeding from her as I desperately wanted a pup from her. I was going to have all the pups tested after they were born but it's a bit of a pain as you have to have a blood test at that age because they are not weaned. I wanted to keep a bitch but it would have just been my luck that all the bitches would be carriers.

 

Its ironic that the trialing community are so hot on the tests yet FTCh Levenghyl Silvercloud of Drakeshead which was probably the best bitch in the country at one time was a carrier and Sandra had no problems selling any of her pups.

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Its ironic that the trialing community are so hot on the tests yet FTCh Levenghyl Silvercloud of Drakeshead which was probably the best bitch in the country at one time was a carrier and Sandra had no problems selling any of her pups.

 

Funnily enough my bitch probably gets her status from the same FTCH dog that was never tested.

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Its ironic that the trialing community are so hot on the tests yet FTCh Levenghyl Silvercloud of Drakeshead which was probably the best bitch in the country at one time was a carrier and Sandra had no problems selling any of her pups.

That's the difference though. A pup out of a superb bitch that is run by the most famous name in Labradors will sell before any other pups. Carrier , or not, the bitch is a FTCH and that top trumps any old bitch from the local shoot.
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That's the difference though. A pup out of a superb bitch that is run by the most famous name in Labradors will sell before any other pups. Carrier , or not, the bitch is a FTCH and that top trumps any old bitch from the local shoot.

I know what you mean. I have a bitch from one of the most famous names in labradors ( i won't say which one) though it was a 12 hour round trip to get her. The breeding is as good as you can get and she is absolutely ******* useless. She is steady as a rock, stops like you have shot her to the stop whisle, hand signals are spot on, but she will never make a decent gundog as long as I have a hole in my ****.

 

Now I am not saying all dogs from this kennels are useless as their field trial results prove, but it also shows that the best breeding in the world does not guarantee a good dog. Again its probably no coincidence that I got the last pup from the litter.

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i can point you in the direction of a dog, it's the colour that folk lovingly refer to as a FRL. It's health tested, hips are nowt flash but it's cnm & pra clear. He's got his own website, Champ Dogs page & is a regular on pets for homes. I bet it's never been on a shoot in it's life & wouldn't know pheasant even if one ran up & kicked it up the ****. The health test results of his progeny make sorry reading, there's not that many tested but the hip scores resemble an American Football team squad numbers. This dog has had more studs than the last 5 IGL winners, it's 7 now & I bet by the time it's finished it'll give Pocklea Remus a run for his money.

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Just to restore some of ur faith in dog breeders, i have a mate i used to train with got 2 chocalates that are pretty good and 2 FR that are really good, all his dogs are prob just below trialling standard (well winning 1 anyway) but excellent working dogs, all health test etc But he will only use them on health tested bitches and usually only if he's been reccommended ie proper working dogs.

More interrested in producing decent pups and doing wot's best for the breed than money, the way things used to be.

 

 

Thats half the problem with modern dog breeding using a few sires to so many bitches, any genetic defect can have a massive effect on the breed.

Also nowadays lines/strains are no longer localised, even 30 year ago most dogs would be bred pretty local as transport was hard and only the really keen dog boys would take their bitches elswhere to bring fresh lines into area.

In the cockers are the top 3 studs not running an inbreed co effecent of around 25-30%, which is well above the reccommended. If they have any health problems it will be right throu a lot of FT and working cockers.

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Would I have a pup out of that particular FTCH bitch that is a carrier?, you bet your life I would. Would I have a pup out of a bitch from the local shoot that was a carrier?, not in a million years .

 

But would it not be more responsible to not breed from that bitch??

 

Even breed from her non carrying siblings in theory most of the genes should be very similar.

 

I'd more than happily have a pup from a local dog that i've seen work than something with red letters after its name (would prefer both not to be carriers thou) that i've never seen work. Just because it is a working dog does not mean it will not produce decent pups, possibly not trialling pups but as EMT? said possibly better to havve a choice of pups than the dregs, althou picking a pup can be a lottery anyway even for the best most exerienced eye.

 

Red letters does not guarantee anything, a couple of FT trainers i know are going throu roughly 10-15 spaniel pups a year trying to find the right 1 they are all very well bred FTW/FTCH bred yet most don't make the grade for trialling.

 

In germany/continent for the hpr/hound breeds all matings have to be approved by the local 'breed master' who looks at the pedigree of both as well as any know health issues in the line and all dogs have to pass certain working and confirmation tests before being allowed to breed.

Always thought it was a lot of b*****k's, but when see the way dog breding is going in this country has a lot going for it.

Would mean even top top studs could only have a limited number of lines a year/lifetime.

 

The way the KC is going with ur dogs siblings all listed etc is quite good if only they made it compulsorty to list any known illnesses that can be genetic.

So if a few siblings to ur dog all had heart murmours etc possbly not a good idea to breed from it, as at present u will never know if dog not local, but requires folk to be honest and put the bred before cash

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But would it not be more responsible to not breed from that bitch??

 

Even breed from her non carrying siblings in theory most of the genes should be very similar.

 

I'd more than happily have a pup from a local dog that i've seen work than something with red letters after its name (would prefer both not to be carriers thou) that i've never seen work. Just because it is a working dog does not mean it will not produce decent pups, possibly not trialling pups but as EMT? said possibly better to havve a choice of pups than the dregs, althou picking a pup can be a lottery anyway even for the best most exerienced eye.

 

Red letters does not guarantee anything, a couple of FT trainers i know are going throu roughly 10-15 spaniel pups a year trying to find the right 1 they are all very well bred FTW/FTCH bred yet most don't make the grade for trialling.

 

In germany/continent for the hpr/hound breeds all matings have to be approved by the local 'breed master' who looks at the pedigree of both as well as any know health issues in the line and all dogs have to pass certain working and confirmation tests before being allowed to breed.

Always thought it was a lot of ******k's, but when see the way dog breding is going in this country has a lot going for it.

Would mean even top top studs could only have a limited number of lines a year/lifetime.

 

The way the KC is going with ur dogs siblings all listed etc is quite good if only they made it compulsorty to list any known illnesses that can be genetic.

So if a few siblings to ur dog all had heart murmours etc possbly not a good idea to breed from it, as at present u will never know if dog not local, but requires folk to be honest and put the bred before cash

You are correct, in a ideal world. Unfortunately it ain't a ideal world. The bitch in question has been tested at the height of competition and proved it's self time and time again. The bitch is superb. A bitch of that quality, even though a carrier, apparently, is better than 99% of bitches out there so yes I would have a pup off it. I have not bred a litter myself because I believe other people are breeding better stock than I could breed. In my opinion no one should breed if they can buy in better stock than they could breed. The heart ruling the head should never come into breeding working dogs. It does though and that's why there is so much rubbish around.

The continental way of breeding a working dog is definitely the best way. Unfortunately it would go against the UK way of making money out of breeding anything to anything . Remember it should be a good dog to make money through studs where as ANY idiot can make money from a bitch.

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Quite interesting reading the posts as I too am looking for a Lab, this will be my first and I'll be honest - I don't know much about labs yet.

 

I've found a possible dog with following results - 'Sires hips are 3/4.Eyes unaffected.Unaffected by TRD,GPRA,CPHA,HC.Elbow score is 0.Mother untested'

 

Whats your thoughts on these results?

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You are correct, in a ideal world. Unfortunately it ain't a ideal world. The bitch in question has been tested at the height of competition and proved it's self time and time again. The bitch is superb. A bitch of that quality, even though a carrier, apparently, is better than 99% of bitches out there so yes I would have a pup off it. I have not bred a litter myself because I believe other people are breeding better stock than I could breed. In my opinion no one should breed if they can buy in better stock than they could breed. The heart ruling the head should never come into breeding working dogs. It does though and that's why there is so much rubbish around.

The continental way of breeding a working dog is definitely the best way. Unfortunately it would go against the UK way of making money out of breeding anything to anything . Remember it should be a good dog to make money through studs where as ANY idiot can make money from a bitch.

 

IGL winners 2005 - 2014 inclusive, 9 different dogs, only 3 are out of a bitch with a stud book number, none are out of a Champion bitch.

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